Hey, so it’s February tomorrow. Here’s a set of songs that I’ve sort of remembered I loved or discovered in the last couple of months.
There’s a lot of Lou Reed, but that’s because he’s still gone and I miss him. Also, I saw a review that said Set The Twilight Reeling was ‘a lesser work’. Fuck you, man. Your brain is a lesser work, you prick.
This was an occasion that can best be described as ‘historical as fuck’. Menace fuckin’ Beach’s first ever show in the north east. Tubular!
First up, we had Rice Milk. Smashing band! Only two guys too. I really dig that. Bands with only two people are the future of music, ’cause you can tour in a smaller car.
The Italians go on and on about how the best dishes only need five ingredients and a little magic from Mama, and that’s Rice Milk. Sweet noises and one of the most unexpected voices I’ve ever heard – but, y’know, in a good way.
Speaking of Italy, in Pop Recs you can get the most amazing coffee. Try the Al Pacino, they’ll love ya for it. Hoo-ah.
If I’d bothered to do my research instead of idly stroking my beard, I would have probably noticed that I have shared an office and awkward “holding the door open” moments with one of the members. For a year. Fucking oops.
I mention this just so you know that my journalistic impartiality has been impinged. I don’t want death stares every time I go to the loo.
That said, if they’d sucked I wouldn’t have mentioned all of the previous. I would have curled up into a ball of nerves and willed myself out of existence rather than write this review. I probably would have moved to Venezuela.
So, yeah, they’re great. I like bands where everybody sings because it appeals to the socialist in me. They sing about life and Durham.
In my phone notes from the night, I wrote that they are “raw, randy, raucous, Rush-referencing roustabouts.” Clearly the product of too much coffee and not enough sleep. For ten years.
Menace Beach are the Earth, Wind & Fire of indie rock bands. Just guitarists all over the shop. You can’t see the five additional bassists here, there wasn’t enough space in the main room so they had to be relocated.
Bollocks aside, Menace goshdarned Beach. What a great noise they make. I’ve written about them before, but it’s really amazing to see them now that I’ve spent a good seven months listening to their totally excellent EP. Their set flew by, but I could probably see these guys every day of the week and it wouldn’t be enough. There’s really a lot of great new guitar music around at the moment and Menace Beach are the cream on top. You know, the best bit.
How do they sound live? I’ll let them speak for themselves on that one.
They’re so good.
It’s worth giving a shout out here to the Pop Recs guys for running a real classy shop with amazing records all over the place, and also to the promoter Dan Shannon for putting together one of the most stunning bills I’ve seen since, well, the last time I saw Menace Beach.
Also, Simon from the train home, you’re an absolute dude and a crazy mother.
If you liked any of the stuff up there, here are some links. Check these bands out and support this great independent music scene we’ve got going on in the UK. There’s so much great music, guys.
As I got on the bus to Sheffield at a time that shouldn’t exist on a Saturday morning, I thought to myself, “What the fucking hell are you doing going to Sheffield? This is a really stupid thing to do. Why aren’t you sleeping like usual?”
Well, Mr. Internal Monologue Laced With Self-Doubt, you are dumb.
I saw Cheatahs last November (2013, if you are from the future) supporting METZ in Glasgow. It was excellent. Just… excellent. There are no words. That’s why I didn’t bother reviewing it. Yeah… that’s why.
Sheffield is nice. It has trams. I like trams. You buy the ticket on-board from a conductor, which is just adorable. Every public transport system should be so quaint.
Would you believe my luck? The Harley is also a hotel, and if you stay at the hotel you don’t need to buy a ticket. This saved me the princely sum of £8 which I later invested in a drink or two. Or nine. It’s also really close to a little Sainsbury’s. This is good news if you are like me and make sandwiches in your hotel room to save money.
As far as hotels go I’ve stayed in fancier but I found it was pretty cosy. A little run-down but not dirty and at no point did I fear for my life. Considering recent experiences, The Harley might as well be the goddamn Marriott. I watched the Food Network, I napped a little. It was bitchin’.
I went downstairs and felt really awkward for a while. Also, £4.50 for a Kopparberg!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
Shinies were first up. They’re from Manchester. They’re also really, really good. I have a great attitude towards research so I knew absolutely nothing about them or even that they were playing, so I can’t tell you what songs they played. What I CAN tell you is that the songs were awesome. Definitely a band I’ll be seeing again.
At this point I should mention that the music played between bands was just endlessly great. This is something that a lot of people neglect. A great opener should get you in the mood for the headliner, but what’s all that energy worth if you’re going to spend the next 20 minutes standing around being bored? I’m looking at you, Manchester Cathedral. You are boring.
Menace Beach played in the middle and I shuffled myself down to the front. It’s really lame seeing an empty space at the front where there ought to be people – if you go right to the stage you no longer have to see the gap. This wasn’t an issue for much longer because Menace Beach are fucking brilliant. I’m going to save a lot of my gushing for the inevitable review of their EP, but I think I love them.
I took video. Here is video. It’s not the finest in the world, but sometimes shopping at Aldi isn’t so bad. Also, it’s my website so shut up. I do what I want.
Cheatahs are a real joy to see live. Theirmusic is a fun mix of heavy, spacey and a little poppy that’s hard to dance to but a treat to hear. As good as their recorded material is (including their album which came out last week, it’s so good) nothing compares to seeing them live.
There’s something about seeing Cheatahs that makes you forget about your life for a while. It’s hard not to feel like you could float away on the music. Some scienticians have found that good music increases dopamine levels in the brain. After this show, I believe it. It was a great spiritual cleanser.
If you think that sounds pretentious, you don’t understand because you weren’t there, man.
You know a thing I really like? When band members sit at the merch table. There’s something that feels so right about physically handing over your money to one of the people directly responsible for the stuff you’re buying. If I was a band I would totally do this, even if I was Nine Inch Nails.
I sort of hung out a little with Menace Beach. There was chocolate. There was rum. They are very nice.